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Building blocks of the future – Blockchain NZ

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In pop culture, we’re often shown the future as either an unattainable dream or dystopian nightmare. But one film that portrays the future in a realistic light is the 2013 film ‘Her’, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. It’s a charming film that focuses on Phoenix’s character who falls in love with a personal operating system, voiced by Johansson; an AI consciousness who grows human emotion and develops independent thoughts and views on the world.

Almost 10 years later, I still think about this film regularly. It left an impression on me as it presents technology and how we interact with it in a way that is achievable and left me thinking, ‘what if?’

We already have voice-activated systems powered by AI – I can ask Siri to change my music, give me directions when I’m lost, tell me the weather, and give me a quick Google-searched answer to the question I’ve been pondering. However, they’re currently too awkward for my futurist dreams. I see the future of voice-activated devices moving towards what is depicted in Her, where everyone has their own personal assistant sitting in their ear, organising their life with ease while also being someone to have an insightful conversation with.

So what does this have to do with blockchain? If an AI-operating system (AI-OS) had access to all your personal data, the importance of digital identity using blockchain and smart contracts is a no-brainer. With current voice-activated devices there’s always that joke that our phones are constantly ‘listening’ to us; you could be having a conversation, then later that day you’re being targeted for an ad on that exact topic. An AI-OS based on a blockchain platform and utilising smart contracts would ensure that your digital identity is secure and available to only those who have permission when they meet specific criteria.

Another interesting aspect to this idea is the potential of who might be the voice of your AI-OS. With the recent exponential growth of NFTs, we are seeing a more diverse use of this extension of blockchain technology. No longer are NFTs being seen as just pixels on a screen (are you getting tired of that debate as well?). One interesting development is the introduction of AI-generated voices as NFTs. This Forbes article dives into the controversial partnership of gaming voice actor Troy Baker and NFT voice company Voiceverse. With minting a person’s voice, you could have anyone talk to you, be it your loved one or a celebrity. However, this does raise some ethical questions – if a person were to mint their voice, could you make it say anything you want? Who then has ownership of that voice? What are the psychological impacts of having a celebrity be the voice of your OS?

Aside from the ethics of voice NFTs, a personalised operating system, based on artificial intelligence and secured by blockchain, could eliminate the need for personal assistants, manual booking systems, and would bring ease to your life admin tasks. This may be my futurist dream, but it is something that is entirely possible. I hope this sparked some thoughts as to the future use cases and potential of blockchain and left you thinking, ‘what if?’

What’s coming up at BlockchainNZ in 2022
Due to the move to the red ‘traffic light’ setting, we will be focusing on producing more webinars and exploring digital content for our members to sink their teeth into. These will include our regular Inform events with special panellist speakers, our interview series with members, and online networking sessions for everyone to connect together if you can’t make our monthly meet-ups. Fingers crossed for a healthy second half of the year, where we can all connect again at our in-person events. Keep an eye out on our website for upcoming events.

Member Profile Video Series
We’re keen to have a chat and talk about the work you’ve been doing in the blockchain space! If you would like to put your hand up to be interviewed for our member profile video series, let us know and email us at team@blockchain.org.nz

Call for Articles
If anything interesting is being developed in your space, you have an opinion on the direction of blockchain, or want to produce an insightful thought piece you’d like showcased, we’d love to hear from you. To submit an article to be published on our website and for more information, please email us at team@blockchain.org.nz

Your Thoughts
We also want to know what articles/information you would like to see featured on our website in the Info Hub. Email your thoughts to team@blockchain.org.nz

Ngā mihi nui,

Alison Mackie
BlockchainNZ Community Manager


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